AgChat Foundation Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS

If you are on the internet, you have heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS. If you have been hiding under a rock, it is a viral phenomenon where individuals and companies are challenging each other to either A) dump a bucket of very cold ice water on themselves or B) donate to the ALS Association. This is all to raise awareness for ALS.

ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), better known as Lou Gehrig disease, is a neurodegenerative disease. This fatal disease affects the nerve cells (motor neurons) that control a person’s muscles. There is no cure for ALS. Over 5,000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year.

Recently, our friends over at Monsanto challenged AgChat Foundation to the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS.

AgChat heartily accepts this challenge, because farmers and ranchers are not immune to this disease and we want to support and honor those who continue to be an advocate for agriculture despite their circumstances.

Next week at the fifth annual AgChat Foundation Conference, Cultivate and Connect, we are asking our participants to vote with their donations on which AgChat Foundation board member will have to dunk themselves in icy cold, freezing water. Jars will be available to make donations in at the conference. Participants can simply donate some pocket change, a couple bucks, or a check, to “vote” for their favorite board member.

Not attending Cultivate and Connect? We have a special challenge for you. If we receive over $2,000 in donations by noon on August 22, 2014, both at the conference and through the AgChat Foundation ALS giving page, the ENTIRE board of directors will get dunked!!

This is your chance AgChat community to give back. We will be donating all funds raised in honor of the legacy of Lamar Fesser, Morrisonvile, IL. Mr. Fesser passed away in 2008 from ALS, but this disease didn’t take away his passion for farming and mentoring young farmers and families. Mr. Fesser was an Prairie Master Farmer and also an inaugural member of the Cultivating Master Farmers’ program, were he mentored young farmers. Donations will be giving to St. Louis Chapter of the ALS Association.

Win a FREE registration to Cultivate and Connect

There are just some gosh darn nice people in this world! Recently you may have seen that we had an anonymous donor donate two free registrations Apply to win a FREE registration to the 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference!! AgChat Foundation’s Cultivate and Connect Conference in August in Austin, TX. Well, Richard over at Pro-Ag was the recipient of one free registration. He was grateful to have won, but wanted to pay-it-forward by donating his award. He wants to see the registration used toward a farmer or rancher who really needs the financial help to attend the conference.


If you are a farmer or rancher who is interested in attending the AgChat Foundation’s Cultivate and Connect Conference in Austin, TX, August 21-22, 2014, and not currently registered, you now have an opportunity to win a FREE registration!

Here is how it works:

You have 48 hours to answer this essay question in 140 characters or less:

How do you define being an online advocate for agriculture. 

Click here to submit your answer.

Contest Eligibility

  • Must be a farmer or rancher
  • Must not be currently registered for the 2014 AgChat Foundation Cultivate and Connect Conference.
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Contest begins at 5pm Wednesday, July 16th, central daylight time.
  • Must submit your answer to the essay question by 5pm Friday, July 18 central daylight time
  • Essay answers must be submitted using this link
  • NO PURCHASE necessary to win.

This contest is sponsored by AgChat Foundation, Inc, PO Box 196, Elko, MN 55020.

*By entering you allow Pro-Ag to contact you about their current programs and opportunities for farmers and ranchers.

Pinterest Basics and Beyond: How to Get the Most from Your Pins

Kathy Swift, one of our Flagship AgNerds, is here to share her experience using Pinterest. Learn some of the steps, tools, and approaches she uses to seek engagement with an audience. Kathy will also share example uses of Pinterest from design, jewelry, and agriculture.

If you registered for the 2014 Cultivate and Connect Conference or registered for the LIVE webinar, you have been emailed instructions to view the recorded webinar.

This webinar by Kathy Swift, held on July 15th, 2014, provided the basics of Pinterest as well as revealed some of her best kept secrets. Did you miss registering for the live webinar? No worries. A recording of the webinar will be offered again on Wednesday, July 23rd at 7pmET. Register today!

If you just want to see and hear this Pinterest webinar and then later register for the Cultivate & Connect conference, the Pinterest webinar fee will be applied to the conference registration [conference registration] seating is limited!!

Sunday’s Spotlight

Today we are spotlighting the first five blogs and/or Facebook pages left in last Saturday’s “Saturday Sharefest!”

Congratulations to the top five!! Be sure to check these pages & sites out & share with your followers. Bonus points for sharing with your non-ag friends!

Check out -

Want to meet Dr. Lindsay in person? Register for the 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference!

Learn from the Prezi Queen

It always gets me going when I hear of advocates presenting their stories to civic groups, schools, churches, etc… When we talk about Laura Daniels, presenter at the 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference Aug. 21-22, 2014 beyond the choir, I love using this technique to tell the story of agriculture and making a long-lasting impression. Through the years, I’ve spent my fair share of time listening to presenters and I’d have to say one of my favorites is the closing keynote of last year’s annual AgChat Foundation conference.

Dairy farmer Laura Daniels hit a home run with her presentation relating hitch pins to sharing our stories. The keynote was inspiring, motivating and heart warming, to say the least. It was such a unique, attention grabbing presentation. She zoomed in and out of photos of her farm and kids, highlighting what would be bullet points in traditional presentations. I was drawn to the screen and torn between watching Laura or keeping my eye on the show. I later learned that her presentation was created using the online program Prezi. For a creative spirit like myself, I was in awe and wanted to get my hands on the program as soon as possible and sit Laura down in a coffee shop so I could pick her brain.

Fast forward to this past winter as I prepared a session on Community Building. Without having the opportunity to chat with Laura, I purchased a how-to book on using Prezi. While it was helpful to an extent, I’m a visual learner and learn best when someone walks me Example of Community Building  on Prezi with Jenny Schweigert - a task. Even so, I took a stab at preparing the session in Prezi. Was it Laura Daniels material? No, but it gave me just enough of a taste to know that with a little additional training, this will be my future presentation resource.

Imagine my excitement when I learned Laura would be returning to the 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference to present on how-to use Prezi! I’m in love with this program and chomping at the bit to listen and learn more at Laura’s presentation. If you would like an opportunity to hear Laura speak, be sure to register for the 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference before July 1st!

written by Jenny Schweigert


Jen Schweigert - TheMagicFarmHouse.comJenny serves as the AgChat Foundation Communications Director while helping manage her family’s small hobby farm in central Illinois. In addition to, she can be found blogging about life on the farm, Jersey dairy cattle, hunting and her boys, all at

Free 2014 Cultivate & Connect Registrations Announced

AgChat Foundation is excited to announce that a generous anonymous donor has agreed to awarding two AgChat Foundation Cultivate and Connect 2014 registrants a free registration. See below for official rules which contain entry information. To register for the 2014 Cultivate and Connect conference visit

Don't miss the 2014 Cultivate & Connect Conference! Register at

Official Rules:

AgChat Foundation Cultivate and Connect 2014 Registration Contest.

  • No purchase necessary.
  • To Enter:
    • To enter register for the AgChat Foundation Cultivate and Connect Conference 2014 by June 18, 2014. Your registration will be an automatic entry.
    • To enter without purchase, send a stamped addressed postcard with your name, address, phone number and email to: AgChat Foundation, Attn: ACFC14 Contest, PO Box 196, Elko, MN 55020. Entries must be received by June 18th. AgChat Foundation is not responsible for entries that do not contain the correct information or necessary postage.
    • Only one entry per person will be accepted.
    • Purchasing a registration does not increase your chances of winning.
  • Contest Sponsor:
    • This contest is sponsored by AgChat Foundation, Inc. PO Box 196, Elko, MN 55020
  • Number of prizes:
    • The contest prizes will be two full registrations to the AgChat Foundation Cultivate and Connect Conference 2014. The value of each registration is up to $475. There are no cash rewards for the difference between the actual price and value of top prize. There will be no cash rewards for winners who choose not to attend the AgChat Foundation Cultivate and Connect Conference 2014. Prizes are non-transferable. The odds of winning this contest are based on the number registered participants and non-registered contest entries.
  • Geographic area of the sweepstakes and/or who is eligible to participate in the sweepstakes.
    • All legal residence of the United States of America and Canada are eligible to enter. Contest participants must be 18 years or older.
  • Opening date and scheduled termination date of the sweepstakes.
    • The contest will open on June 7, 2014 and close at midnight Central Daylight Time on June 18, 2014. Winners will be drawn on June 20, 2014 and notified. Winners must acknowledge their prize by July 1, 2014.
  • Whether all prizes offered will be awarded, and how the prizes will be awarded.
    • All prizes will be awarded. If either or both of the first winners do not acknowledge their prize by July 1, 2014, new winners will be selected.
  • Manner of selection of winners, and when a determination of winners will be made.
    • Winners will be selected and announced on June 20, 2014.
  • Where and when a list of winners can be obtained.
    • A list of the winners can be found on the AgChat Foundation website,, starting Jun 23, 2014.

Good luck to all participants!

Ray Bowman – Meeting Face To Face Helps Develop Stories

Ray Bowman - Meet People at Cultivate & Connect conference in Austin, TX Aug 21 & 22 Conversation with Ray Bowman – Ray Bowman, is a farmer and a media professional. He uses social media to highlight the day to day things that people in agriculture work thought and deal with. We are pleased to announce that Ray will serve as the 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference emcee and will be presenting the session, “Podcasting: Basics and Beyond.” In this interview, Ray offers tips and suggestions on what to expect when attending the Cultivate & Connect conference. He strongly believes the conference is a way to really meet up with people face to face and learn more about creating and telling agriculture focused stories [audio].

Don’t miss out on meeting Ray Bowman at the 2014 Cultivate & Connect Conference! Seating is limited so register early!

Direct link to MP3 audio.

Brian Scott – Telling About The Farmer’s Life

Brian Scott - Meet People at Cultivate & Connect conference in Austin, TX Aug 21 & 22 Conversation with Brian Scott – Brian Scott is a fourth generation family farmer who uses social media to share what happens in a farmer’s life. Through his blog, on Facebook, and Twitter, he shares interesting posts about equipment, his family, dogs, ag technology, and the occasional raccoon in the grain hopper.

In this conversation, Brian shares how he approaches questions from people not familiar with agriculture. He says he speaks to what he knows and how they do things on their farm. One topic of interest is popcorn: Brian’s family grows popcorn and it is a direct conversation starter with many people [audio].

Seating is limited at the 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference so register early!

Direct link to MP3 audio.

6 Tips for Gaining Financial Support to Attend the 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference

Attending conferences can be a huge turning point as an advocate of agriculture. In fact, Carrie 6 Tips for Obtaining Sponsorship www.agchat.orgMess (aka Dairy Carrie), was inspired to begin the popular blog following an AgChat Foundation conference. Conferences offer the opportunity to build life-long relationships, gain new skills and expertise while also being ignited with passion for advocating for agriculture. Unfortunately, one of the reasons for not attending can be financial constraints. However, forming partnerships with like-minded companies is always a win-win situation. You may be asking, “but how do I form those partnerships?”

Here are some tips:

1.) Identify a list of companies which fit your agriculture expertise.

2.) Connect with those companies on any and all social media platforms. Use private messaging as a way to obtain the appropriate email address to send communications.

3.) Research the companies and become in tune with their advocating efforts.

4.) Create a proposal for forming a partnership which specifically explains how you can provide value to the company. This might include:

  • Providing a pre-determined number of tweets about the company.
  • Writing a blog post(s) supporting the company – the post(s) may feature the companies brand, latest products, deals/specials and includes links back to the company’s website.
  • Providing a pre-determined number of sponsored Facebook posts
  • Providing ad space on your blog or website – you can offer different size ad spaces and vary the length of advertising (3 month, 6 month, etc…)
  • Offer to wear clothing with their logo and tagline to the 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference
  • You may also include different levels of sponsorship

In your proposal you will want to specifically list how the allocated funds will be used – registration, travel, lodging, food, etc…

5.) Make sure your blog and social media platforms are up-to-date and complete.

6.) Keep in mind that rejection is always a possibility but with persistence you will succeed. Understand that you may receive four no’s before receiving a yes.

What other tips can you share for obtaining sponsorship?

May 6th, 2014 – AgChat on Social Media, Ag, & Food: Open Mic

AgChat on Social Media, Ag, & Food: Open MicBeing Social in Agriculture Farmers & ranchers need to be social to stay in tune with what people are saying. With technology comes the ability to get out beyond the local coffee hangout and learn more about other people out there. This AgChat looks at some of the questions people have about telling stories, learning about food, and staying active in the ag and food conversations on and off line.
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